ANALYZING PRAGMATIC AND CULTURAL ELEMENTS IN HEALTH INFORMATION WEBSITES

2019 edition

Amy Dara Hochberg

This interdisciplinary doctoral thesis project has two main objectives: to examine two pragmatic determinants – reader-writer role relationship and technicality of vocabulary – and assess for cultural competence in health websites informing about HIV, tuberculosis, and TB/HIV co-infection in English, Spanish, French, Catalan, and Hebrew. Further research that analyzes pragmatic determinants on the diverse cultural groups within targeted audiences of health information websites is needed to test whether cultural competence influences technicality of vocabulary and role relationship. This descriptive study will evaluate the two pragmatic elements using the Evaluative Linguistic Framework, and assess cultural competence using three of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions – individualism versus collectivism, power distance, and indulgence versus self-restraint – in a multilingual comparable corpus of health communication websites from countries in the Americas, Europe, and Israel using a mixed qualitative and quantitative analysis. Significant differences in pragmatic features in the texts in these five languages could determine whether each cultural group would comprehend the health information as intended. This fact would indicate a need for further research incorporating more languages and countries. Therefore, this study contributes to the fields of Translation and Language Sciences and Public Health.